While driving a car on the regular helps you keep a better handle on its maintenance (it’s hard to ignore garbage piling up on the floor mats or an empty gas tank when you’re spending time in the vehicle everyday), it’s much easier to let a vehicle’s maintenance slip from your mind if you're working from home full-time or recently retired, as you may not be using your vehicle as often as you normally do. Here are some ways to maintain your vehicle while it’s sitting idle:
Take it for a Spin
Driving your car is one of the best ways to keep a handle on its maintenance. Not only does driving the vehicle charge the battery, it also wakes up important mechanical components including the transmission, suspension, brakes and all of the fluids, seals and gaskets. Think of driving your car for a few miles as the equivalent of you getting your daily workout in. Driving your car also gives your tires a break - the tire areas that have been resting on the ground and supporting the weight of the vehicle will appreciate being rotated.
Accidentally waited too long and started your car to the frustrating silence of a dead battery? Learn how to safely jumpstart your vehicle here.
Keep it Clean
If your vehicle is going to be sitting mostly idle for a while, make sure to give it a good cleaning first. Food containers and crumbs can attract unwanted critters and also generate a not-so-pleasant odor. Do a deep clean of both the interior and exterior before parking your vehicle for an extended amount of time and be sure to pick up any garbage after every drive.
Check the Tires
The last thing you want is to go out to drive your vehicle one day, only to find out it has a flat tire. Before parking your car for an extended period of time, give your tires a once-over and make sure there aren’t any leaks. Keep in mind that changing environmental temperatures can also affect tire pressure. If you live in a climate where temperatures are constantly changing, then your tires are more susceptible to changing pressure. If your tires start looking a little flat, remember to refill them to the suggested level of pressure.
Don’t Forget the Oil Changes
Even a car that is sitting idle can benefit from an occasional oil change. Even if you aren’t driving the vehicle frequently, fluid continues to break down over time so you’re best off sticking to your vehicle’s recommended oil change routine.
Store it Safely
Where you’re storing your car matters. If able, store the vehicle in a covered garage where it will be shielded from the elements such as rain, snow, sleet and hail and even the sun’s rays. Storing it in a space that is also secure will help protect it from theft and vandalism.
Top off the Gas Tank
Another way you can look out for your vehicle’s wellbeing before you store it is by topping off the gas tank. Doing so will make sure there isn’t any room for water to collect in the tank and prevent possible rust and deterioration. Plus, it’s always nice to have your vehicle gassed up in case you need to relocate it for any reason or take a spontaneous road trip. Not sure what fuel is best suited for your vehicle? Learn more by clicking the button below.